Thursday, January 15, 2015

John Scalzi's Lock In

I read a lot, and by a lot, I really mean a lot. One book that I am very excited to get into is Lock In by John Scalzi.

This is a sci fi book that deals prominently with disability. And probably contains some spoilers even though I am not far into the book yet.

Cover taken from the Amazon page where this book is sold (see link above)

The plot takes place in a world where a flu like epidemic has caused certain people to suffer from locked in syndrome where they are conscious but they are a prisoner in their own bodies. As some of you probably know this is a real thing that has happened to some people, not neccesarrily the flu portion, but the locked in portion.

In this world there are people that caught the illness but instead of being locked in they became able to allow their minds to be shared with the people that are locked in and so offer their services in that way. The main plot deals with a murder that has happened by a person who was allowing themselves to be controlled by a person that is locked in (at least that's what I think anyway).

 I am only 50 pages in and I've already seen some promising things about disability representation. I wonder how much invisible disability will factor in since some of the characters are able to put on a new body and so they would not physically show their disability as opposed to the people that use a robot like structure that makes their locked in status very visible.

There is also an overarching issue where the government feels they are spending too much money on the people that are locked in and the resulting cut in funding would leave countless people that are locked in with no way to support themselves and no hospital care. The reasoning being that, with all the "options" available to these people to interact with the public and hold down jobs that these people shouldn't be classified as disabled anymore so they should not get the support of the government.

I think that this is very poignant in relation to some of the things I've seen happen to disabled people. There are actual people out there that assume having things like handicapped parking, ramps, and special seating on public transit are privileges that are undeserved instead of a way to let people of varying abilities participate. That and the way that people that are on disability benefits are always living in fear of the government coming in to take away what meager living and healthcare they receive.

I've only gleaned this from the first 50 pages so I can't wait to see what they rest of the book holds in store!

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